adventure, Book Industry, Books, Christmas, Fantasy, historical fiction, history, Junior Fiction, literary fiction, middle grade, Publishers, Reading, Reviews, series

A Christmas in Time by Sally Nicholls

Title: A Christmas in Time

Author: Sally Nicholls

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Publisher: Allen and Unwin/Nosy Crow

Published: 1st December 2020

Format: Paperback


Price: $14.99

Synopsis: The second in a brilliant time-slip adventure series by the award-winning author of Things a Bright Girl Can Do.

Fun-filled, action-packed adventures in time from best-selling, award-winning author, Sally Nicholls. When Alex and Ruby fall through the mirror in their aunt’s house, they find themselves in a different historical period, each time with a different task to perform before they can return to the present. From Edwardian crime capers to Victorian Christmasses, their time-slip stories are always exciting and beautifully told.

A Victorian Christmas is lovely – all the food and candles and games and singing – unless you’re poor, motherless Edith who is condemned to be sent to a cruel boarding school on Boxing Day. Can Alex and Ruby persuade her strict father that home is where the heart is instead?

Classic storytelling from a brilliant writer and beautifully illustrated throughout by Rachael Dean, with covers by Isabelle Follath. One of these books is never enough!


There is something magical about stories set at Christmas, and about Christmas. Whether it is a favourite movie, or a beloved story like The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol, December is filled with Christmas stories for those who celebrate the holiday. Many of these books are aimed at kids, and I have read a few this year, one with a very Australian flavour. This one had all my favourite things: Christmas, England, winter, time travel and history. A Christmas in Time is part of a series about siblings Ruby and Alex, who have the ability to travel through time via a mirror in their aunt’s bed and breakfast.

Ruby and Alex are staying with their aunt over Christmas, helping out with an influx of guests over the holiday. Whilst decorating, they see a shimmer in the mirror – someone they met in the past in the first book and tumble through into Applecott House as it was during Victorian times – and discover that a distant ancestor, little Edith, is to be sent to boarding school the day after Christmas – and it is a horrific one! Ruby and Alex must find a way to let Edith’s father, a curate who seems rather distant, let her stay at Applecott with her cousins. Can they do it, or will Edith be sent to a school where she will be mistreated?

This is one of those Christmas stories that hits everything so well. The snow, the tree, the Scrooge-like character, the orphan who just needs a bit of hope and a good place to live, and the magic of Christmas that brings people together. It shows the simple joys of childhood and the magic of family, coupled with the joys of Christmas – the food, the tree, the decorating and the stockings, and so many other things. I loved the way Ruby and Alex slipped into place with their ancestors, the Pilgrim family, and were able to use what they knew to help Edith’s family change her fate.

It is a charming and delightful story about a family pulling together to help each other and Edith, sprinkled with the chaos of a large family and the contrasts of a Victorian Christmas to a 21st century Christmas. Some things are the same, yet there are marked differences that are hinted at and show that however we celebrate, Christmas is always about family and love.

This is one that will be added to my shelf of Christmas reads and hopefully, pulled out each December to get in the holiday mood. A wonderful read for children aged eight and older.

1 thought on “A Christmas in Time by Sally Nicholls”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.